Monday, October 6, 2014

Day Six: Nostalgia

Photo stolen from my sister's Facebook without her permission.
And this is another Indonesian tea plantation, not the one I talk about here.
But it was as close as I could get.
Sue me.
But not really because four kids are expensive, and blogging don't pay the bills.

Our not-so-little yellow house on the hill facing the sea is surrounded by its own ocean of mist right now, and I'm sitting with my boots propped up on the coffee table thinking about nostalgia and white space and moving boxes and trying to decide what of the many things floating around my head I really want to write about tonight.

And nostalgia won. Because of the mist, mainly. There is something about the mist, about here because here is somehow defined by the mist, that reminds me of the tea plantation my family used to visit when  I was growing up.

Monterey and Pangalengan are about as different as they come. One has the sand dune beach, the other has hills of glowing green tea bushes. One is dry and arid, the other is humid and rainy. One is in America, the other is in Indonesia. You get the picture.

The point is not how similar they are, or dissimilar, but that something about being here (in this case, the bank of fog that swept in with the sunset) triggered a memory, one that reminded me of a place that felt like home. It took me back to packet hot chocolate and nasi goreng for breakfast, morning hikes and afternoons at the hot springs, quiet evenings with books and card games and my family.

Tonight, when the Man finishes studying and I finish blogging, we're going to curl up in the living room together with mugs of hot tea and a couple slices of spice cake dusted with a liberal amount of powdered sugar. The flicker of the candlelight will mimic the memory of my aunt's house where the Man and I first shared tea and spice cake together before her fire place.

At some point this week, our family will end up back down by the shore, watching the waves crash in, building castles with buckets and shovels, and trying desperately to get at least one handful of sand in our mouths before the kill-joy parents swoop in to steal our fun. And while we're there, I will remember summers at the beach, jaffles at the hotel restaurant, watching the fruit bats come in at sunset, early morning walks along the shore to see what the fishermen have pulled in.

This is home. Not just the here and now, but the collection of places and experiences that we bring with us. Wherever we go after this, we will take with us pieces of Monterey to add to the mess of memories we carry to each new place. And so on and so forth.

The nostalgia is part of the rooting process. It takes us from one place to the next. It presents a sense of the familiar when so much around us still isn't. The nostalgia is a reminder that even when we're between places, there once was a place that felt familiar and safe and so there will be again.

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  1. .....and now I'm swimming in nostalgia fog too. Thanks, neng. *clinks tea cup to yours*

  2. Yes to misty green and grey days reminding me of Pangalengan. It has happened to me too even in South Sudan.